To Your Health
September, 2023 (Vol. 17, Issue 09)
Bad for the Liver
By Editorial Staff
Postmenopausal women who enjoy a daily sugary soda or similar sweetened drink, listen carefully: those sweetened beverages you're consuming could be damaging your liver. In fact, they could be increasing your risk of developing liver cancer and/or dying from a liver disease. Let's see why limiting or altogether avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages should be a top priority.
In a 20-year study involving nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women (average age at the start of the study: 50-79 years), researchers used food-frequency questionnaires to evaluate study participants' consumption of regular (sugar-sweetened) soft drinks and fruit juices (not including 100% fruit juice) at baseline. Liver health was defined as a reduced risk of liver cancer or death due to chronic liver disease (nonalcoholic fatty-liver disease, liver cirrhosis, liver fibrosis, alcoholic liver diseases, or chronic hepatitis).
According to study findings, which appear in JAMA Network Open: "Compared with consuming 3 or fewer servings of sugar-sweetened beverages per month, those who consumed 1 or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day had a higher incidence of liver cancer and death from chronic liver disease."
Now think about that for a minute: one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day. Not hard to do, right? Which leads us to the more important question: If you're drinking sugar-sweetened beverages on a daily or near-daily basis (or even worse, multiple times every day), how difficult would it be for you to stop? It's your liver – and even your life – we're talking about, after all.
(Note: While artificially sweetened beverages may have their own health risks, this study also evaluated consumption at the three-year mark. The result: Women who consumed one or more artificially sweetened beverage per day did not have a significantly increased risk of liver cancer or chronic liver disease mortality. Food for thought).